Category Archives: Imperialism

U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country, by The Visual Capitalism

Good information on the American Empire’s outposts, and military spending, from visualcapitalist.com:

U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country

200K ACTIVE TROOPS OVERSEAS IN 177 COUNTRIES

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

There was no shortage of cuts proposed in Trump’s budget for 2018, which was released earlier this week.

However, one of the few departments that did not receive a haircut was the Department of Defense. If the proposed budget ultimately passes in Congress, the DoD would be allocated an extra $54 billion in federal funding – a 10% increase that would be one of the largest one-year defense budget increases in American History.

To put the proposed increase in context, the United States already spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined. Meanwhile, the additional $54 billion is about the size of the United Kingdom’s entire defense budget.

Country Military Spending (2015) Share

United States $596 billion 35.8%
China $215 billion 12.9%
Saudi Arabia $87 billion 5.2%
Russia $66 billion 4.0%
United Kingdom $55 billion 3.3%
India $51 billion 3.1%
France $51 billion 3.1%
Japan $41 billion 2.5%
Germany $39 billion 2.4%
South Korea $36 billion 2.2%
Others $427 billion 25.6%

“BE ALL YOU CAN BE”

With over half of all U.S. discretionary spending being put towards the military each year, the U.S. is able to have extensive operations both at home and abroad. Our chart for this week breaks down military personnel based on the latest numbers released by the DoD on February 27, 2017.

In total, excluding civilian support staff, there are about 2.1 million troops. Of those, 1.3 million are on active duty, while about 800,000 are in reserve or part of the National Guard.

On a domestic basis, there are about 1.1 million active troops stationed in the United States, and here’s how they are grouped based on branch of service:

Military Branch Active Domestic Personnel As a Percentage
Army 394,236
35%
Navy 283,499
25%
Marine Corps 149,992
13%
Air Force 249,738
22%
Coast Guard 38,659
3%
Total 1,116,124
100%
Internationally, there are just under 200,000 troops that are stationed in 177 countries throughout the world.

To continue reading: U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country

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Trump: Yet Another War President? by William J. Astore

It appears Trump has already answered the title question. From William J. Astore at antiwar.com:

Is Donald Trump going to be yet another American war president? Come to think of it, is there any other kind?

This is no accident. Tom Engelhardt has an insightful article at TomDispatch today about how Trump the blowhard is a product of blowback from America’s failed wars, notably Iraq. There’s much truth in this insight, since it’s hard to imagine demagogue Trump’s rise to power in a pacific climate. Trump arose in a climate of fear: fear of the Other, especially of the terrorist variety, but also of any group that can be marginalized and vilified. Think of Mexicans and the infamous Wall, for example.

In a separate post, Engelhardt noted the recent death of Marilyn Young, an historian who found herself specializing in America’s wars, notably Vietnam. He cited a New York Times obituary on Young that highlighted her attentiveness to America’s wars and their continuity.

Since her childhood, Young noted, America had been at war: “the wars were not really limited and were never cold and in many places have not ended – in Latin America, in Africa, in East, South and Southeast Asia.”

She confessed that:

“I find that I have spent most of my life as a teacher and scholar thinking and writing about war. I moved from war to war, from the War of 1898 and U.S. participation in the Boxer Expedition and the Chinese civil war, to the Vietnam War, back to the Korean War, then further back to World War II and forward to the wars of the 20th and early 21st centuries.”

“Initially, I wrote about all these as if war and peace were discrete: prewar, war, peace or postwar,” she said. “Over time, this progression of wars has looked to me less like a progression than a continuation: as if between one war and the next, the country was on hold.”

To continue reading: Trump: Yet Another War President?

 

Is Donald Trump About to Massively Expand America’s Imperial Wars? by Michael Krieger

If the answer to the title question is yes, it’s fair to say he’ll be doing something that most of those who voted for him don’t want him to do. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

– Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Many people voted for Donald Trump based on his pledge of “America First.” The idea behind this partly relates to the very legitimate concern that the U.S. Empire and its military-industrial-contractor benefactors have been squandering an enormous amount of treasure and tax money on foreign adventurism, funds which could be of much greater use at home helping struggling Americans, fixing our broken economy and infrastructure. I’m starting to become increasingly concerned that rather than winding down America’s foreign adventures, Trump and his team are preparing to expand them.

The always excellent Robert Parry at Consortium News got me thinking about this with his recent post. Here are a few excerpts:

The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

To continue reading: Is Donald Trump About to Massively Expand America’s Imperial Wars?

The Empire Should be Placed on Suicide Watch, by the Saker

A dirge for the US’s empire would be sweet music indeed. From the Saker at unz.com:

In all the political drama taking place in the US as a result of the attempted color revolution against Trump, the bigger picture sometimes gets forgotten. And yet, this bigger picture is quite amazing, because if we look at it we will see irrefutable signs that the Empire in engaged in some bizarre slow motion version of seppuku and the only mystery left is who, or what, will serve as the Empire’s kaishakunin (assuming there will be one).

I would even argue that the Empire is pursuing a full-spectrum policy of self-destruction on several distinct levels, with each level contributing the overall sum total suicide. And when I refer to self-destructive behavior I don’t mean long-term issues such as the non-sustainability of the capitalist economic model or the social consequences of a society which not only is unable to differentiate right from wrong, but which now decrees that deviant behavior is healthy and normal. These are what I call “long term walls” into which we will, inevitably, crash, but which are comparatively further away than some “immediate walls”. Let me list a few of these:

Political suicide: the Neocons’ refusal to accept the election of Donald Trump has resulted in a massive campaign to de-legitimize him. What the Neocons clearly fail to see, or don’t care about, is that by de-legitimizing Trump they are also de-legitimizing the entire political process which brought Trump to power and upon which the United States is built as a society. As a direct result of this campaign, not only are millions of Americans becoming disgusted with the political system they were indoctrinated to believe in, but internationally the notion of “American democracy” is becoming a sad joke.

And just to make things worse, the US corporate media is finally revealing its true face and has now unapologetically shown the entire world that not only is it not in any way “fair” or “objective”, but that it is a 100% prostituted propaganda machine which faithfully serves the interests of the US “deep state”.

To continue reading: The Empire Should be Placed on Suicide Watch

 

Is a Korean Missile Crisis Ahead? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan asks a pointed question: why, over sixty years after the Korean War and twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, does the US still have 28,000 troops in South Korea? From Buchanan at buchanan.org:

To back up Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis’ warning last month, that the U.S. “remains steadfast in its commitment” to its allies, President Donald Trump is sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to Korea.

Some 300,000 South Korean and 15,000 U.S. troops have begun their annual Foal Eagle joint war exercises that run through April.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way,” says Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, “Are (they) really ready for a head-on collision?”

So it would seem.

It is Kim Jong Un, 33-year-old grandson of that Stalinist state’s founding father, who launched the first Korean War, who brought on this confrontation.

In February, Kim’s half-brother was assassinated in Malaysia in a VX nerve agent attack and five of Kim’s security officials were executed with anti-aircraft guns. Monday, Kim launched four missiles toward U.S. bases, with three landing in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. response: Begin immediate deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield in Korea.

This set off alarms in China. For while THAAD cannot shoot down Scuds on the DMZ, its radar can detect missile launches inside China, thereby, says Beijing, imperiling her deterrent.

For accepting THAAD, China has imposed sanctions on Seoul, and promised the U.S. a commensurate strategic response.

Minister Wang’s proposal for resolving the crisis: The U.S. and Seoul cancel the exercises and North Korea suspends the nuclear and missile tests.

How did we reach this crisis point?

To continue reading: Is a Korean Missile Crisis Ahead?

 

A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed laments the absurdity of the present hysteria about Russia. From Reed on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Consider:

He has threatened to cut the F-35, a huge blow to Lockheed-Martin and hundreds of subcontractors; to pull US troops out of South Korea, a blow to the Empire; to end the wars, a blow both to the Empire and the military industry getting rich from them; to pull troops out of Okinawa, crippling the Empire in the Pacific; to start a trade war with China with a forty-five percent tariff of Chinese goods, threatening American corporations with factories there; and to chase out illegal immigrants, an important source of cheap labor to businesses. He has called NATO “obsolete,” when leaving it would be the death knell of the Empire; and threatened to establish good relations with Russia, when the lack of a European enemy would leave NATO even more obviously unnecessary.

Thus New York and its branch operation in Washington resuscitate Russia as a bugbear to terrify the rubes,meaning most of the public. Money. Power. Empire.

To continue reading: A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare

When the Money Supply Dries Up, by Jeff Thomas

Empires come and empires go, and the relatively short-lived US empire is on the way out. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

In 1944, the US had been the primary supplier for arms for the allies during World War II and, as such, exited the war with more wealth than any of the other nations that had entered the war earlier, draining their treasuries of money. Since payment was largely demanded in gold, the US held three-quarters of the world’s gold and therefore was in a position to call the shots with regard to the free world’s economic future.

At Bretton Woods, the US took advantage of this situation, setting up the World Bank and the IMF and declaring the dollar to be the default currency for all countries concerned. From that point on, the US was in the catbird seat, able to dictate economic terms to other countries and even to behave irresponsibly, eventually creating previously unheard-of levels of debt, thereby inspiring other nations to do their best to create their own debt in order to keep pace as best they could.

Eventually, of course, such irresponsible economics will cause any country, no matter how powerful, to collapse economically, no matter how many Keynesian economists such as Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman, and Larry Summers declare otherwise.

Beginning in 1944, the US became the world’s foremost empire, for the strongest of reasons—it held the world’s wealth. This advantage led to a period of great power and, in the latter years, as the empire began to stumble economically under its own great weight, led to the creation of organisations and legislation designed to bring in new revenue, as the old forms of revenue declined.

In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of the extraordinary assumption that “money laundering” (the practice of protecting one’s wealth from rapacious governments), should be regarded as a crime. As such, “tax havens”—those jurisdictions that provide freedom from governmental usurpation—have also been vilified as being somehow criminal because they recognize the basic right of freedom to prosper.

To continue reading: When the Money Supply Dries Up